The Heroics of Cuylle and Shesterkin: A Statement Victory:
The third period was tight, with little room to work with on both ends. Every inch of ice, much like a playoff game, had to be earned.
Yet with 9:39 left, Jacob Trouba went up the right boards and found Will Cuylle in the slot for the lead. Cuylle has been quite a revelation for the team since breaking training camp. He does all the little things right and was finally rewarded with his first goal on Broadway. Barclay Goodrow received the secondary assist on the tally.
“I saw [Trouba] pinch down the wall, and I found a little lane for him to find me,” Cuylle smiled. “First goal at MSG and it was a big one. I’m pretty happy.”
“I know that he was a capable goal scorer last year for Hartford,” Laviolette said. “He came in, and you watch him in games and the chances he gets in practice and the way he can finish, there’s definitely that potential for him to score goals and create up here, as well. I like his straight-ahead speed. I like his physicality. He’s pretty smart and pretty reliable defensively. So, there are a lot of positives. And that’s obviously a big goal. A big goal at the right time in the third period. It gets us a win and gets us two points.”
The finisher was Cuylle, but the assist by Trouba was just as important. The captain led the way in many respects, logging a team-high 24:56 time on ice with four shot attempts, two hits, three blocks, and that pivotal assist.
“I almost lost the puck at the blue line and gave up a breakaway haha. Trouba said of his assist. “Then I went down the wall, Wheels set a good pick, I think it was Wheels, just kinda had the puck for a second and saw Cools going to the net and he put it in.”
It was Wheeler, who tied up former Blueshirt Brady Skeji’s stick in the corner allowing slot feed.
“He was really good,” Laviolette said of Trouba. “He was physical, blocking shots. I thought he skated the puck well, I thought he moved the puck well, I thought he did some good things in the offensive zone. He definitely was a leader back there for us tonight.”
From there, Shesterkin took over. He stopped a Dmirtry Orlov slap shot and a Teuvo Teravainen wrister. Then he stoned Aho with the glove with 6:36 remaining. Yet, with 4:00 minutes remaining came his best save of the game. Martin Necas missed wide but got the puck wide open in the slot before Shesterkin slid over and got a piece with his glove.
Twenty seconds later, he flashed the cow on former Blueshirt Tony DeAngelo, who was booed by the crowd all evening. Carolina pressed as time wound down, but a Jimmy Vesey blocked shot, New York’s 23rd of the game, and shutdown defense sealed a statement victory.
“It was a really tough game,” said Shesterkin, who made 26 saves with a + 1.89 goals saved above expected, said. “Chytil and Foxy are really important players for us. Hopefully, everything will be good. We just tried to play our game, and everybody stepped up.”